Make a fish dish that’s a breezy snap

The Denver Post - - FEATURES - By Sara Moul­ton Re­nee Comet, Spe­cial to The Wash­ing­ton Post

Few fresh foods are more tempt­ing than a tomato in sea­son. The only “prepa­ra­tion” it needs is to be pulled off the vine, sliced, driz­zled with olive oil and sprin­kled with salt. Done!

But un­til those per­fect spec­i­mens ap­pear, try this recipe’s roasted tomato vinai­grette. It’s a knock­out. Any tomato will do — beef­steak, plum, cherry — as long as it’s ripe.

To de­ter­mine its ripeness, sim­ply smell the stem end, which should boast an in­tense aroma. Then roast the win­ners to elim­i­nate ex­cess wa­ter and con­cen­trate their fla­vor. Fi­nally, puree them with sherry vine­gar and ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil. (You can use bal­samic, white or red wine vine­gar in­stead.)

The fish is best with a light crust achieved by dip­ping the fil­lets in flour to start. (My fa­vorite is Won­dra flour, the kind my grand­mother used.)

The two sauces can be made as many as four days ahead. Keep them cov­ered and chilled, then whisk be­fore serv­ing. 6 serv­ings

Serve with grilled corn on the cob or your fa­vorite slaw. In­gre­di­ents FOR THE VINAI­GRETTE:

1 pound ripe toma­toes, cut into O-inch wedges cup ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil

NKosher salt

Freshly ground black pep­per 1K to 2 ta­ble­spoons sherry

vine­gar

Wa­ter (op­tional) FOR THE LEMON AIOLI:

N cup plus 2 ta­ble­spoons may­on­naise (low-fat if you pre­fer)

1 tea­spoon finely grated zest and 2 tea­spoons juice (from 1 lemon)

1 tea­spon minced gar­lic FOR THE FISH:

2 ta­ble­spoons ex­tra-vir­gin

olive oil

Six 6-ounce firm-fleshed white fish fil­let pieces (O to 1 inch thick, skin-on or skin­less), such as tilapia, cat­fish or bass Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pep­per Won­dra or all-pur­pose flour,

for coat­ing the fish Tar­ragon leaves or chopped

chives, for gar­nish Di­rec­tions FOR THE VINAI­GRETTE:

Pre­heat the oven to 425 de­grees. Ar­range the toma­toes, cut sides up, on a rimmed bak­ing sheet.

Driz­zle them evenly with 2 ta­ble­spoons of the oil and sprin­kle them with O tea­spoon salt and N tea­spoon pep­per.

Bake (mid­dle rack) un­til they have shriv­eled and browned slightly, about 30 min­utes. Trans­fer im­me­di­ately, along with any pan juices, to a blender.

Add 1K ta­ble­spoons of the sherry vine­gar and the re­main­ing 2 ta­ble­spoons of oil; puree un­til silky smooth. Taste and add the re­main­ing vine­gar, as needed.

Sea­son lightly with salt and pep­per; add wa­ter, as needed, to make the vinai­grette spoon­able. FOR THE LEMON AIOLI:

Whisk to­gether the mayo, the lemon zest and juice, and the gar­lic in a bowl. FOR THE FISH:

Heat the oil in a large non­stick skil­let over medi­umhigh heat. Sea­son the fish lightly with salt and pep­per and dip it in the flour, coat­ing it on both sides and shak­ing off the ex­cess.

Once the oil shim­mers, add the fish to the pan and cook it just un­til it is opaque and golden brown, about 2 min­utes per side.

Place a fil­let on each plate. Spoon the vinai­grette gen­er­ously over each por­tion and driz­zle the lemon aioli on top. Gar­nish with the tar­ragon or chives and serve im­me­di­ately.

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